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06KIEV1163, UKRAINE: ELECTION DAY REPORT — ORANGE MAJORITY

March 26, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1163 2006-03-26 20:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001163 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM PHUM
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ELECTION DAY REPORT -- ORANGE MAJORITY 
LOOKING POSSIBLE 

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 

1. (C) Summary:  Election day has proceeded without problems 
on a national scale that should affect the outcome of the 
vote, despite a variety of adminstrative deficiencies in many 
polling stations and allegations by all sides of wrongdoing 
by their opponents.  Main concerns going in to election day 
that polling stations would not function sufficiently and 
that massive numbers of voters would be absent from lists do 
not appear to have materialized based on observations of 
Embassy observers deployed throughout Ukraine.  Throughout 
the day reports of long lines generally proved to be a 15-30 
minute wait, but OSCE and CVU observers in Luhansk began to 
report lines with wait times up to 2 hours toward the close 
of the day.  Opposition Party of Regions statements have 
alleged voter list problems and long lines disenfranchising 
thousands of their own voters, and Our Ukraine observers have 
reported a number of incidents of vote buying, abuse of 
mobile and absentee voting, and similar infractions in 
Luhansk and Donetsk, but reported problems are scattered, 
largely unproven, and, from what we have heard, not 
sufficient to alter the basic outcome of the national 
election.  End summary. 

Polling Stations Opened, mostly on time 
--------------------------------------- 
2. (C) The CEC reported March 26 that all of Ukraine's 
polling stations opened for election day except one, where a 
Molotov cocktail set fire to the building overnight in Kiev 
oblast; in a very small percentage of stations opening was 
delayed up to several hours.  Embassy observers reported a 
variety of minor administrative problems in the voting 
process, but most polling station commissions (PSCs) appeared 
to have membership representing a variety of parties, even if 
some only technically  (note:  as in past elections, some PSC 
members have little connection to the party they have been 
designated to represent).  Observers in Donetsk heard reports 
that businesses were controlling certain polling stations, 
making it appear that the Donetsk voting machine was in full 
swing to get out the vote, but no significant violations were 
observed. 

Voter lists not as bad as many predicted 
---------------------------------------- 
3. (C) Overall, polling stations were functing well enough to 
result in very small numbers of people being excluded because 
their names were absent from the voter list.  Many PSCs 
appear to have worked hard to improve voter lists in the 
preceding weeks, and one report from the nonpartisan 
Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) indicated that voter 
lists were significantly improved over 2004 because hundreds 
of thousands of incorrect names had been removed.  Embassy 
observers reported a total of 0-15 people turned away during 
the day at polling stations they visited across the country, 
with most in the low single digits.  In places where the 
voter lists appear to have been more of a problem, notably 
Luhansk, reports suggest that local voter list committees had 
not done their job.  Toward the end of the day, Luhansk CVU 
and OSCE observers began reporting lines up to 2 hours, and 
one polling station with a wait as long as 4 hours, as a 
result of voting lists that had significant errors and 
discrepancies between the local and parliamentary lists which 
were taking time to correct.  Another cause of long lines was 
inefficient PSCs; several in Crimea had replaced their 
leadership on election eve, or even on election morning. 

Watching the watchers 
--------------------- 
3. (C) Large numbers of domestic observers were present at 
polling stations, and there were only a few scattered reports 
of interference with observers; in several cases, Committee 
of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) was able to intervene to resolve 
the problem.  The most significant problem appears to have 
been in Donetsk and Crimea, where Razumkov and KIIS exit 
pollsters reported they were not allowed to poll at some 
stations and were forced to go elsewhere.  One Our Ukraine 
observer, according to press reports, was beaten by local 
toughs in Donetsk oblast, and the local police advised him 
not to report the incident. 

Serious individual incidents few and far between 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
4. (C) The most serious incidents were the firebombing of one 
Kiev oblast PSC overnight, a couple of reported beatings, and 
scattered reports of vote- or ballot-buying and small scale 
abuse of mobile and absentee ballots.  In Luhansk, Our 
Ukraine reportedly registered 1460 cases of people taking 
ballots outside and selling them as of 3 pm, and alleged 
absentee voters were being bused to multiple stations. 
Luhansk observers also reported the number of mobile voters 
at several stations ranged from 50-200; CVU had advised that 
anything over 50 should be regarded as suspicious.  Scattered 
allegations of fraud included vote buying in one Rivne city 
council election, and voters being paid outside a polling 
station after voting in Donetsk. 

Looking for trouble 
------------------- 
5. (C) Regions and Ne Tak representatives were clearly out 
looking for flaws.  One observer team witnessed what appeared

to be a staged incident in an Odesa polling station near the 
local Regions headquarters in which a man who was evidently a 
Regions party boss came in and made a loud scandal about his 
wife being excluded from the absentee voting list for the 
benefit of the Embassy observers.  Regions statements 
throughout the day have included claims that 25,000 people 
were turned away from polling stations because their names 
were not on lists, that people were waiting 2-3 hours in 
lines in Odesa, and that courts in the west were allowing 
voters to be included on election day while those in the east 
were not.  (Note:  We have seen no evidence to substantiate 
these claims, and moreover these numbers do not represent a 
significant percentage of the electorate.)  The OSCE 
long-term observer in Luhansk relayed the comment of one 
territorial commission head in Luhansk who claimed that only 
45 percent of those who wanted to vote would get to vote. 
Results preliminary 
------------------- 
6. (C) Several exit polls have released preliminary data 
showing Regions winning a plurality with between 27 and 34 
percent, Tymoshenko coming in second with 21-23 percent, 
President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine placing third with 13-21 
percent, the Socialist coming in at about 6 percent, and the 
Communists and radical Socialist Vitrenko-led bloc just over 
the 3-percent barrier.  Remarkably, if these figures hold, 
Speaker Lytvyn's party will not make the Rada.  The 
U.S.-funded "National Poll" shows the following vote 
percentages: 

Regions      32 
Tymoshenko   23.4 
Our Ukraine  14.5 
Socialists    5.7 
Communists    3.5 
Vitrenko      3.1 

If this result represents the final actual vote figures, we 
would see a Rada seat allocation as follows: 

Regions    175 
Tymo       128 
OU          80 
Socialists  31 
Communists  19 
Vitrenko    17 
-------------- 
Total      450 

With these numbers, an Orange (Tymo, OU, Socialists) majority 
of 239 is possible if they can reach agreement on the PM 
ship, for which Tymoshenko would be sitting in the driver's 
seat.  Tymoshenko stated publicly after polls closed that 
Socialist Party head Moroz had agreed to join in an Orange 
coalition.  Tymoshenko said she would discuss the coalition 
with Our Ukraine.  Interestingly, she did not respond 
directly to a journalist's question on who would be the next 
Prime Minister. 

7. (U) Visit Kiev's Classified Website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Herbst

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